Do Educational Toys Promote Early Childhood Development? (Developing Creativity, Part V)

Every child has within themselves the ability to be creative. It is important that parents recognize the value of their child’s creativity and pursue avenues as well as make every effort in helping their child to develop in this area of their lives. Creativity can be defined many ways but is basically the development of unique and special abilities and talents in your child. However, creativity goes beyond the mechanics of developing a skill in a particular area such as music, the arts and writing. It also involves the release of one’s individuality, uniqueness, diversity and personalization of ideas and thoughts which makes it their own.  

Creativity is essential as it provides a means for children to develop ideas and solutions for problem solving. When problems occur they do not always have an easy answer meaning that a solution may work at one particular time and although the circumstances may seem the same a new solution must be applied. Problem solving involves a creativeness that is flexible with the ability to adapt and apply thoughts and ideas resulting in a successful outcome. So when it comes to problem solving, children need to be challenged to make observations from various perspectives and to apply an array of solutions that they have developed through creative thinking.

Some of the ways that parents can help their children express themselves and solve problems through creative thinking are…

  • Be a role Model; show them first hand
  • Provide situations that provoke multiple choices, ideas and answers
  • Encourage your child to explore other possibilities
  • Allow flexibility rather than structure (what everyone else thinks)
  • Accept unusual ideas and their possibilities
  • Recognize and help them to express their individuality
  • Provide imaginative play
  • Allow and encourage spontaneity
  • Build their self-confidence through positive affirmation  
  • Show your support in their efforts
  • Unless asked, let them accomplish tasks without your help
  • Ask questions that challenge alternative answers
  • Encourage, encourage, encourage

Playing is important and the most natural way for children to learn and grow. Researchers have suggested that creative adults were most likely involved in imaginative play as children. Educational toys are an invitation to fun creative learning. They are an avenue to stimulate imagination as well as providing situations requiring problem solving. They open the door of socialization with other children which provides opportunities of how others think and feel. They provide a means of developing self-confidence as your child masters various ways to accomplish tasks which also builds their self-esteem. They are also useful in helping children discover various emotions as their self-expression bubbles forth.    

Creativity plays an important role in the future success and productivity of your child. Self-expression, problem solving, decision making, expressing ideas and experiencing an unlimited flow of endless opportunities and possibilities are all developed through creativeness. Although we may take for granted such things as an automobile, a telephone, lighting and computers, it was the creative expression of ordinary people who broke the mold of popular thinking an achieved what most thought the impossible. But isn’t that the desire of all parents, that their children become more successful and productive than themselves? So parents help your child’s creative juices flow.

Understanding the Boundary Between Education and Literacy

The Title is self-explanatory. Let’s clear our concepts first;

What is Literacy?

Literacy is the ability to read, write and express ourselves. The key to literacy is reading development, a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text.

What is Education?

I define Education as the capability to use the ability to express ourselves. This is one line definition of education. Education is the application of literacy, not just the literacy.

A person can’t say that “I am educated because I know how to read, write and express myself.”

Coming to my point, Are we really getting educated or just literate? People pursuing great degrees are still left unemployed. Students with great minds and talents are unemployed and maximum number of unemployment can be seen in engineering. Why is this? The answer to all these questions is THEY ARE JUST LITERATE, NOT EDUCATED.

They lack skills because they just know to express themselves but they don’t know how to express, why to express and what to express. Education involves whole methodology of applying skills, to foster development and exploring new ideas.

Now, coming to India’s education system, I believe that India is focussing on its academics but not in proper manner. Children here are characterized on the basis of their grades, marks and how much they know, not on their talent, skills and how much they discover the undiscovered. The children who have knowledge are intelligent but the children who discover and explore knowledge are called to be wise and genius.

Taking an example, Albert Einstein found no profit and interest in knowing history and learning those dates, left one of the best schools by giving fake medical certificate of nervous breakdown and started discovering the undiscovered, exploring the unexplored and fostering the science and technology not for anyone else but for himself, for getting inner satisfaction and peace. He is one of the best scientists who brought a new look to the era of science.

The people in India who are extremely talented and skillful, leave the country for getting better jobs and opportunities in foreign cities. Why this happens? What is the reason? What makes people and talents of India to leave such a wonderful country? Is this because of outer fantasies, glories or fame? No, the answer is, India lacks in its education system which makes Indian talents to settle outside.

India is a democratic developing country. India is developing constantly in its academics but in wrong way. We are just getting LITERATE, not EDUCATED.

Leaving a question for you;

Are you just literate or educated?

Consequences – When Education Is Biased

Although a noble concept education does not serve all the purposes it was meant to serve. The issue at hand, the fact that education tends to reaffirm existing inequalities, is not easy to explain since the ideal behind education in everyone’s mind is the exact opposite. We tend to think that since almost everyone in the western world has access to all levels of education and thus a chance to improve him/herself that person can accomplish something better in life than he or she already has. But the facts show that we do not all have the same opportunities and in the long run the present system of education sustains the existing “order” of society.

One of the largest scaled researches on this issue was conducted for the US government in 1964 by a sociologist named James Coleman. His research showed that academic achievement depends largely on the socioeconomic background of the students rather than school facilities or other factors as he originally expected. Rutter another sociologist who did research on this issue found that school conditions (student-teacher relationship, proper motivation, etc”) could actually improve the academic achievement of children who were of low social and economic background and were otherwise expected to perform poorly. But how can something like this be explained? Three theories seem to explain the reasons why adequately.

According to Basil Bernstein “children while growing up acquire a certain linguistic code depending on the social position of their family, something which later on affects their performance at school”. This difference in language does not concern vocabulary or other linguistic skills it is the difference in the use of language according to Bernstein that makes the difference. A child that grew up in a working class family is used to what is called a restricted code of language, a code that includes a lot of unstated assumptions which is more suited for everyday life rather than academic use. On the other hand a child that grew up in a middle or upper class family is accustomed to an elaborate code with which he/she is able to discuss and express more abstract ideas and is able to suit many kinds of social settings, especially that of the academic world. Such a difference is sure to influence a child’s educational chances.

There are probably many other reasons that explain why education expresses and reaffirms existing inequalities, reasons that have to do with the race, gender or ethnic and religious background of students in different countries. But there are also many things that can be done in order to improve the system and give equal chances to all for a better and more prosperous life. It depends on all of us to abolish inequalities but unfortunately history has shown that people fight for changes only when they have nothing to lose and those who design our lives have made us believe that we have lots to lose if we try to make any change.